Goose Ridge Orchards, Woodinville, WA

In Woodinville, in the same room as the canned wine, there are also hard ciders. Goose Ridge Winery is very much expanding! These are their Goose Ridge Orchards. And, since I love hard cider, when I have the opportunity to try a new cidery’s ‘apple juice’ I can’t turn it down.

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The background of this cidery —

“The Monson family has been growing apples in the Yakima Valley since the 1950s. They are well-regarded for their modern growing techniques and high quality fruit. Careful attention to natural resources and the seasonal growing conditions (much in the same way grapes are treated) allows for maximum production of exceptional fruit every year.”

Their ciders are bottled in champagne bottles with the same great corks. This is done because of the champagne yeast they use in production.  Not something I’ve seen before, so interesting to see something different, and find out why it’s done.

The tasting was $8 and included the four ciders they produce:

Perry Pear – 6% ABV, $12/bottle

Our Perry Pear cider, light in color with subtle flavors of fresh cut pears and hints of citrus. Whispers of tannins are followed by a slight sweetness for a cider that is artfully balanced.

-Dry. Not much taste, but very refreshing.

Dry Apple – 6% ABV, not available in bottles, only Growler fills ($18)

Made in a refreshing, balance style this versatile cider is bubble and effervescent with flavors of fresh pineapple and citrus notes with a crisp finish.

-Not as dry as expected, and had some sweetness

Passionfruit – 6% ABV, $12/bottle

Absolutely explodes out of the glass with aromas of bright tangerines and passionfruit, followed by tropical fruit flavors and a dry snappy finish. The perfect welcome to spring!

-Sweet, but not too syrupy. Had a good fruit taste.

Berry – 6% ABV, $12/bottle

Tart and juicy aromas of blueberry, raspberry and blackberry, finishing with the slightest hint of sweetness. An incredible compliment to grilled pork chops with a cherry demi-glace.

-Yea, berries were totally there. Didn’t taste like cider at all. Pretty dry, too.

Rankings-wise for my preference I would go:

  1. Passionfruit
  2. Perry Pear
  3. Dry Apple
  4. Berry

Love seeing that more and more cideries are coming about. Will be interesting to see what their seasonal ones are and/or what others they produce for their regular menu.

Cheers.

Ryan Patrick Wines, Woodinville, WA

Another winery/tasting room I had the opportunity to visit in Woodinville was Ryan Patrick Wines. This year they are celebrating their 20th birthday (dang, not even drinking age!). At this one it’s a $15 tasting free for your choice of 4 wines (waived with a $30 purchase). But once again, you go in there, it’s slow, you talk to the great people about their great wine, you get more than 4.

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Rock Island Chardonnay, 2015, Columbia Valley, $20

Enjoy this at your next gathering. This Chardonnay is the perfect accompaniment to a cheese and charcuteries board. (First Place Wine Press NW Chardonnay Competition (tied with Milbrandt, 145 entries) 91 Points, San Francisco International Wine Competition)

-Oaked, with crispier bite at end, but wouldn’t consider it a Chard if I hadn’t seen the label.

Reserve Chardonnay, 2016, Wahluke Slope, Weinbau Vineyard, $35

Enjoy this during your next picnic or boating adventure. This refreshing Chardonnay is the perfect summer wine. (New release)

-All I can say is that it was oakier than the first one, it is truly a Chard.

Rose, 2017, (no spec on location), 75% Syrah, 14% Mourvedre, 9% Grenache, 2% Sangiovese, $15

Enjoy this now! Spring is the official start of Rose season and now is the perfect time to enjoy a glass! (New release)

-As I was told before tasting – ‘the nose is sweeter than it is’ – totally right! There was rose (the flower) on the nose then a light subtle powder taste. Totally a summer time rose to enjoy outside.

Rock Island Red, 2015, (no spec on location), 73% Syrah, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot), $20

Enjoy this with friends. Our Rock Island Red Blend is a crowd pleaser and enjoyed on its own or with food. (94 Points, Gold Medal Winner, Savor NW Wine Awards)

-WOW, ‘BFF Wine’ – per the pourer and I agree 110%! Had the ‘good’ maraschino cherry taste in there (just totally can’t remember the name of them. This was amazing. I left with a bottle to enjoy while in town. This is one I have to get more of.

Reserve Syrah, 2015, Red Mountain, Red Heaven Vineyard, $35

Enjoy this at your next BBQ. This Syrah pairs perfect with barbequed meats like pulled pork and ribs. (Gold, Wine Press NW).

-100% Single Vineyard. Would be so perfect with BBQ’d food. Not sure I would spend $35 on a bottle for a BBQ, but still very good.

Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015, Rattlesnake, Elephant Mountain Vineyard, $45

Enjoy this with dessert like chocolate molten lava cake or coffee ice cream with red berries.

-Good medium body, pretty sturdy.

I had such a great time at this place. Talked to the ladies pouring the wine for a while. Learned a lot about that wine region and what they’ve done at the vineyard. As mentioned before, I picked up a bottle of the ‘BFF’ wine, or Rock Island Red. Absolutely amazing stuff. Another one that I hope gets distributed in CO sooner than later so I won’t have to order it and have it shipped.

 

Cheers!

 

J. Bookwalter Winery

Was in Seattle a bit ago and knew that not far north was a great small wine region. I had a day to do nothing so it was the perfect opportunity to check it out! Woodinville, here I come (this is where Chateau Ste. Michelle is).

I checked out the map and it has several areas you can visit. I was there about a decade ago so was aiming to go to a new section. Come to find out the (new to me) parts I wanted to go to are only open on the weekends, and this was a Friday. So I just went back to the ‘old’ ones.

When you park in one place pretty much everything is walkable. Perfect! The first tasting room I checked out was J. Bookwalter Winery, from Columbia Valley. They were established in 1983 and produce roughly 30,000 cases a year. For their Classic Wines they work with co-distributors to bring great grapes to the bottle.

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Nice little shop/tasting room and pretty quiet.  The tasting was $10 (refundable with a $35 bottle purchase)

The tasting is 5 wines…but like any great place, they don’t give you just five wines…so here we go.

2016 Readers Chardonnay, $20
76% Chardonnay/24% Viognier

Our Readers Chardonnay, previously Couplet, continues to be an outstanding 100% stainless co-fermented blend, which offers aromas of fresh citrus, honeysuckle, and peaches,. The symphony of fruit on the palate echoes the aromas and is accented by minerality, quince and chamomile flowers.

-Yes, totally stainless steel!! Love it, no oak Chard taste!! Almost like a Pinot Grigio.

2015 Double Plot Chardonnay, $28
100% Conner Lee (100% Chardonnay)

The Classical style Conner Lee Vineyard Chardonnay with Asian pear, Meyer lemon and crème brulee aromas. A restrained young wine, it opens to shows abundant sweet fruit and rich persistent lemony flavors. The purist of Chardonnay fruit is the focus, with clean flavors in a rich smooth textures puncheon ages chardonnay.

-Oak, but not brutal! Not buttery. Liking it for a change.

2014 Readers Cabernet $28
50% Conners Lee | 40% Dionysus | 10% Elephant Mountain (75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 10% Syrah)

90 points Wine Enthusiast

A stunning Cabernet from Washington’s older and most revered vineyards. Sourced from Conner Lee Vineyard’s old vines from ’97 and ’88 blocks, Dionysus Vineyards’’ old block 18 and Elephant Mountain Vineyards’’ high elevation superior Cabernet blocks, the powerful wine offers fragrant blackberries, mocha and mineral complexity, all built into this fantastic old vine Cabernet’s delicious style.

-Nose from heaven! So smooth.

2015 Readers Merlot, $28
80% Conner Lee | 10% Dionysus | 10% Elephant Mountain (90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet)

An outstanding Merlot from Washington’s revered old vineyards Conner Lee and Dionysus. Our Readers blend tips its hat to all exploratory readers of books and wine. Blending Conner Lee Vineyard’s 1992 old block Merlots and Dionysus Vineyards’ block 15 Merlot combines two super character vineyards. Elephants Mountain Vineyards Cabernet bring spice and complexity to the blend. This powerful wine offers fragrant cherries and chocolate with rich marionberry flavors in this delicious easy drinking style.

-Smells ‘Italian’. WOW. Have to drink it to understand this amazing work.

2015 Antagonist, $45
100% Elephant Mountain (95% Syrah| 5% Cabernet Sauvignon)

Our 2015 Antagonist is a dark and concentrated wine that will deserve to see the inside of a cellar for several years. Aromatics bursting with flowers, oak and dark fruits lead into black cherries and black berries plus smoke, and meat, sandalwood and sweet spices. The smooth fruit profile is nearly identical on the palate as it is aromatically with sweet dark fruits taking center stage.

-I give it crisp and smooth.

The extras I got to taste were their:

2017 Scarlet Hexflame Rose, $24
100% Columbia Valley | 100% Conner Lee

Vintage 2017 was long in the Columbia Valley. Success of our Washington state vintage was due to our desert’s cool nights during ripening in August. A long history with this old vineyard afforded us a predictable harvest of flavorful early fruit. Harvested in August and early September, mainly Cabernet Franc and Malbec, the fruit was full of flavor early with balanced acidity. We protected the fruit from sun burn with a full canopy of leaves. Overall intensity and depth of flavor are the hallmarks of this outstanding vintage.

-It was sweet, but not killer.

2015 Suspense, $60
100% Columbia Valley | 100% Conner Lee

Our most floral reserve wine displays the ripe cassis, cherries and dried rose petal aromas of perfectly ripened Cabernet Franc. Generous and smooth textured, our lucious blend shows off the best of our 2015 vintage Cabernet Franc supported by its classic Merlot complement.

-I got a lot of pepper on the nose and tongue, a bit different than their description

Very much worth the visit. I did not buy anything at the time because I was flying back and was not going to check a bag but they are very high on my list to order from. They are not yet available in my area, but hope they will be eventually.

Cheers!

Run for Beer

The title of the blog is pretty literal. Was visiting a friend in Seattle, who I happen to know via running. So I had to find a race for us to run so we could really catch up. Did some googling and found the Brewery Running Series. They do 5K at breweries around the city throughout the summer. You get a free beer with your registration fee and part of the proceeds go to benefit local non-profits. Not too bad.

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We took part in the first one of the season at Rooftop Brewing Company.

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It didn’t start until 11am, which was late for a race, but oh well. Was a perfect day for a 5K, then great reward — free beer! So I had to decide from quite the brew list.

I went for the Glorious Baser, their Hefe. Our Blood Orange Wheat Beer is built for Basking in the Seattle sunshine! Come enjoy this super refreshing adult beverage on our deck! 5% ABV. This was just perfect for a sunny spring day. Nice weight, nice citrus taste.

My friend I ran with doesn’t enjoy the enjoy this stuff as much as me so I was able to use her ticket for another great sample. For my second taste (these were pints — I couldn’t drink two full ones, we did run there, so had to run home), I opted for the No. 6 Pomegranate Cider.  6.5% ABV. Nice non-sugary cider. Could drink several of these problematically because you don’t realize they are alcoholic.

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Purple Cauliflower

I’m always up for fun veggies, and new ones. So the last time I was at Pike Place Market (in Seattle) there was of course overwhelming presence of everything fresh. The purple cauliflower caught my eye as I had never had it. I’d heard that it could turn white when cooked, so that gave me more reason to grab it to see what all would happen.

After going over a few options, we decided that if we grilled the cauliflower, there would be little chance that it could lose its color. So we broke it into medium size pieces and threw it on the BBQ after drizzling it with some olive oil and S&P. As you can see in the picture below, still bright purple! The ‘inside’ is white though. The taste was very nice — a tiny bit sweeter than traditional white cauliflower. I look forward to picking more up at farmer’s markets throughout the year, along with some of the other non-white colors.

 

Red Hook…it’d been so long

Before the big game last weekend I went to the store to grab some brew from Seattle.  There store didn’t have any Pyramid handy and another big Seahawks fan pointed out that Red Hook is brewed right near there in Woodinville.  I had a couple options to choose from but opted for the traditional ESB.  Extra Special Bitter, smooth & bold as they say is just about right.  It was so refreshing and a perfect beer for the game.

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